community college

Community colleges named in college excellence program

Two community colleges in Florida became the winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which recognizes high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Winners were Indian River State College (IRSC) ($350,000) in Fort Pierce, Florida, and Miami Dade College ($350,000) in Miami; Odessa College and Palo Alto College in Texas and Pierce College in Washington were named as Rising Stars ($100,000 each).

Pathways in overcoming barriers to completion for community college students explored

As the nation faces a tight labor market and industries scramble to find employees with the right skills to fill open positions, community colleges that are closely connected to a region’s economy play a key role in helping to fill that pipeline. However, the challenges facing students at community colleges often result in many not completing a degree or certificate. A report released this month by The Brookings Institution noted that less than 40 percent of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment. The report’s author, Elizabeth Mann Levesque, explored ways to address both structural and motivational barriers in completing community college. The barriers are real, said two community college administrators SSTI spoke with about the problem, yet the successes they see and innovative efforts some community colleges are taking to help their students are beginning to pay off.

NASA awards $1.4M to help minority-serving colleges develop new STEM courses

NASA has indicated it is facing broad, workforce-related challenges that can have a negative impact on programs over the long run; over half of its workforce is more than 50 years old, for instance. One recent announcement from its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) may be a small step to help address some of those challenges.

States launch more help for students in completing education

North Carolina and Tennessee are implementing new initiatives to get students in their states the help they need to either complete degrees or training that will help improve workforce development in those states. North Carolina’s governor recently added a new line of grants dubbed “Finish Line” grants, to help students that are struggling with non-academic problems complete community college.

College mergers a prescription in meeting higher ed headaches

Declining enrollments, higher costs and limited state funding continue to challenge higher education institutions, and possible mergers continue to surface as an option to meeting those challenges. In Pennsylvania, a new study sponsored by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee identifies options to help ensure the sustainability of the State System of Higher Education, and mergers factor into those considerations.

CA community colleges facing greater role; questions

California’s efforts to grow the role of its community colleges (CCs) was reinforced with the governor’s recent budget request to establish a fully online public community college, while a report reviewing the state’s established pilot program to offer baccalaureate degrees at some CCs presented some serious questions.

California online community college proposed

Community colleges continuing trend to offer four-year degrees

This past summer Ohio joined a growing number of states that allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees when it enacted legislation allowing community colleges, state community colleges, and technical colleges to apply to offer applied bachelor’s degrees. If approved, the programs will join a growing number of applied baccalaureate degree programs being offered by community colleges across the country. The trend has met with resistance from some higher education institutions, while students and employers voice their support.

$17M California makers initiative creating community college model

The nation’s largest system of higher education with over 2 million students is trying to connect community colleges to their regional economies through a three-year, $17-million-dollar investment to establish a statewide network of maker-focused colleges. The California Community College (CCC) Maker Initiative may provide a model for community colleges to infuse making, innovation, and entrepreneurship into students’ college experiences while helping them prepare for STEM/STEAM careers with the necessary skills for 21st Century jobs.

California College Students Promised New Graduation Incentives

Students at several California community colleges as well as California State University (CSU) campuses have access to a new incentive to graduate in four years through new state “promise” programs.  Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. signed SB 412 and AB 1741 creating “promise” programs that act in conjunction with a new 2025 Graduation Initiative, aiming to boost the number of students graduating from those institutions in four years to 40 percent. Success in the programs is intended to help address future workforce needs of California and improve achievement gaps.

NSF Announces Community College Innovation Challenge Winners

The National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), announced the winners of the Community College Innovation Challenge – a competition that challenged teams of community college students to propose innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based solutions to real-world problems. A team from Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina placed first in the challenge with its Energy Efficient Nanotech Solar Greenhouse idea.

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